These past couple of months I’ve been going to interviews like crazy. While I may not have a post-college job yet, I do feel like I have more of an idea of what I’m doing than I did when I first started out. Here are some of my tips to ace your interview.
Practice, Practice, Practice
In one of the classes I took in college we had a speaker come in and talk to us about job searching. He asked how much time we spend studying for a test, and then how much time we spend studying for interviews. If you think about it, an interview is way more important than a test, yet we spend such little time actually preparing out answers and practicing. Even if you don’t have any interviews lined up, that doesn’t mean you can’t still spend time practicing. Google things such as “interview questions” and “interview questions for (your area of study)”. Then just go through the questions and answer them out loud.
Most of the time the people interviewing you will have your resume. Just in case they don’t though, always, always always have several copies of your resume on-hand. You also never know when you’ll end up having more than one interview in the same day or when your interview will end up being with several people instead of just one. I have my resume printed at FedEx Office for about $0.16 per resume. That way it’s on nicer paper and it’s one less thing to worry about.
Dress the Part
I’m all about looking cute, but when it comes to interviewing classy and basic will all be my outfit of choice. No matter how casual the place you’re interviewing is, you always want to dress to impress. That means wearing a nice pair of dress pants and a simple top or a semi-formal dress. No matter what I decide to wear, I always top it off with a black suit jacket and either a pair of low, black, closed toe heels or flats. Since I’m interviewing on a budget, I tend to get a lot of my interview clothes from H&M. The goal is to look polished and professional.
Know the Company
I’ve made the mistake of not knowing enough about the company I’m interviewing with more than once. A couple of days before heading into the interview, start looking over the website, take notes on any of the important things and look over those notes every once in a while. I also Google the company and check the news tab to see if anything has happened recently with their company that would be a good thing to know about. Know what you’re going to say if asked “what do you know about (company name)” and try to foresee any changes within the company that may also be a topic for discussion.
Don’t Stress too Much
You’ve practiced, researched and gotten your resume all ready to go. Now there’s nothing to do but go to the interview and let it happen. I know first-hand just how nerve wracking an interview can be but tell yourself you studied, you tried and now it’s time to just let it happen. Once the interview is over, take it all with a grain of salt. Move on and start preparing for the next one.
Write a Thank You
After every interview I go to, I try to write a thank you. I usually just use a template online like this one and then change it as needed. Every time I see someone for a second or third interview they always thank me for sending the note and tell me how much they appreciate it. It shows a little extra effort and reminds them of you after having had more days of interviews.
Most importantly, be yourself. Smile, make eye contact and just be you.
I’d love to know your best interview tips as well. Leave them in the comments below!